Listen, You Have to Read in a Foreign Language

Stav Poleg

Read it like poetry – don’t expect
to understand everything –
fill in the gaps with your own
half sentences. Don’t read translation
theories. Just don’t 
treat a language as if it’s a precious 
vase that could break 
any second. It is a precious vase. It breaks
while we’re talking – that’s why we fall for it and
with it, and – listen – you have to
think for yourself but in more
than one language, and yes – life is 
an exercise in freethinking, and yes –
a different language could make you 
furious at first – and isn’t it
strange? But so many things 
can happen: the moon, a Pegasus wing
at your door, a telephone ring 
(and you know who
I’m thinking), the sky making 
no sense. So many things 
may never. But listen – don’t listen 
to me. Listen to yourself. You wouldn’t 
believe it.

Page 39, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 123
Issue 123

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 123:

Edited by Eavan Boland

Among the poets offering new work in the final Poetry Ireland Review of 2017 are Orla Martin, Catherine Phil MacCarthy, Harry Clifton,  Erin Halliday, Alan Titley, and Nan Cohen, while the Featured Poet is Belfast sensation Stephen Sexton. The books reviewed in this issue include new titles from Michael O'Loughlin, the late John  Montague, Biddy Jenkinson, Aifric Mac Aodha, Mark Roper, and Colette Bryce's Selected Poems.  Also included is editor Eavan Boland's examination of the life and work of the late John Ashbery, and the reasons for his pre-eminence among American poets of his century; and an evocative tribute to the late Gerard Fanning from his friend Gerard Smyth. The artwork for PIR 123 comes from the SO Fine Art Editions gallery, and the issue concludes with nine intriguing questions for Michael Longley, posed by fellow Belfast poets Stephen Connolly and Stephen Sexton – followed, of course, by nine intriguing answers.